BURRILLVILLE – A representative from the Virginia-based company confirmed this week that Hexagon Energy, LLC is considering building two separate solar projects on two abutting properties along Route 102.
The clean energy developer has signed an option to lease a 10.5-acre property at 2205 Broncos Highway and signed an additional option to purchase a second, adjacent 21-acre lot at 0 Victory Highway.
Buzz Becker, development manager for Hexagon said while it is still early in the process, his company plans to follow the procedure outlined in Burrillville’s solar ordinance, which dictates requirements according to size.
Commercial solar projects, or any installation 25 kilowatts or larger, are subject to Planning Board review in Burrillville according to the law.
“We are considering two separate projects on the parcels, but it is very early in the process,” Becker said. “Projects tend to take shape and solidify as we receive feedback from the local planning, zoning, and other authorities.”
The lease option for the 10-acre property, which is owned by Going Green Realty and currently holds The Pool Pirate, was signed in January, and is good for one year. The purchase agreement for the abutting vacant 21-acre lot owned by Roland Montigny is valid through September 1, 2021.
Becker noted that Most projects take approximately 18-24 months to go from site selection to an operational solar farm.
Asked how his company came to learn about the Burrillville properties, Becker said that Hexagon sifts through publicly available data and maps to identify potential sites for projects, which are later confirmed by meeting with the property owner.
“Hexagon Energy looks for prospective solar project sites with a few things in mind: topography, proximity to existing power lines, cultural, historical, and environmental attributes, zoning considerations, viewshed impacts, etc.,” Becker said.
If the projects are ultimately approved, the new panels would be among several solar installations along the busy highway.
Work is underway at 600 Broncos Highway by ISO Solar on an array expected to produce enough electricity to power approximately 550 homes.
At a nearby wooded lot in front of Daniele, Inc. Burrillville Solar is in the process of signing a 20 year lease for a 68-acre town-owned property to create a 4.2 megawatt ground-mounted solar installation – consisting of 11,646 panels.
At the middle school two miles down the road, education officials have been considering a proposal for a car port solar panel that would generate some 90 percent of the power required to run that facility..
Those solar proposals are among many for vacant and underused parcels throughout town, and part of a surge in renewable energy projects statewide.
“The state General Assembly, representing the people of Rhode Island, have taken ambitious steps to combat climate change over the past few years and have created the conditions to foster a competitive marketplace for renewable energy projects and attracted investment to the state,” said Becker. “Burrillville has created a set of prudent rules for solar project development that ensure the projects are responsibly sited and the nature of the community is not impacted.”
Hexagon, based in Charlottesville, has submitted several applications for solar projects in nearby Massachusetts, and is among those currently challenging the moratorium on commercial-scale solar projects in Cranston, RI.